These early days in the Tour this year are underrated. They are not the hardest but certainly they are the days that stay in your legs and can put you on the back foot before the mountains.
The amount of accelerations alone just to maintain position is the hardest thing. I think you have about 700 accelerations in a stage like today and that is something you can't really replicate in training. The only way to get ready for stages like this is to have racing in your legs.
I got through pretty well today and I was lucky not to crash. There were guys going down to the left, to the right and in front of me but somehow I got through. I just tried to stay calm and I didn't try to fight too much for position.
I was behind the big crash and got back to the yellow jersey group with about 30km to go. I think it was about six or seven kilometres of chasing. I'm not really sure how the crash happened but there must have been oil on the road or something. Guys were going in a straight line and just falling over. I’ve been a pro for 10 years and never seen anything like it!
Tomorrow will be nervous again. Most of the crashes are happening in the front with guys fighting for position so the decision now is whether to try fight for position into the cobbles or just hang back a bit and try go into the cobbles about 50 or so riders back.
For sure it's going to be interesting. We'll probably see the race turn on its side again I'd say.